Wednesday, August 18, 2010

'Instructive lesson in class'

I've a piece in today's Sydney Morning Herald, 'Instructive lesson in class at the auctioneers'. (Not my title.)

My point is simply to remind readers that class still matters. I know many are keenly aware of it, but much political debate and news is 'classless' - as if the only categories were age, gender or those of the physical sciences.

Yet much of our everyday experience is touched by class. A sample:
Class isn't monolithic. It has variations of income, status and morality. We can make mistakes in our adoption or perception of class traits. It is no magic pill for scholarship. It can be as misunderstood and misused as any other philosophical category.

But recognising it allows us to see our prejudices or privileges, to perceive the living hand of the past in the present. Class might be found among the antiques but it's no dead relic.

1 comment:

Rachel Fenton said...

Class is alive and kicking on NZ's North Shore - regardless of what is said to the contrary. Not sure I can feel philosophical about it. It one of those things people like to pretend they don't judge others by but then they wouldn't even consider being pc if they weren't using class judgements in the first place.

People will drop conversational markers the way a bargeman uses a punt to make distance between themselves and others as and when. I obviously have a chip on my shoulder about this so I'll amble off now and read Marx & Engels....